You cannot be a championship program in college football, in today's era, without outstanding quarterback play. Quarterback play has often been the area where Notre Dame could stand to improve the most, and the area where it has often trailed the elite programs from a talent and depth standpoint.
We saw that very clear when the Irish made the College Football Playoff after the 2018 and 2020 seasons.
In less than six months, Notre Dame offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Tommy Rees has taken a very, very big step towards getting the quarterback room to that level. With today's commitment of big-time quarterback Kenny Minchey, along with the summer commitment of elite 2024 quarterback CJ Carr, Rees has loaded up the quarterback room in a very short period of time.
With Tyler Buchner signing in the 2021 class, Rees has landed Top 100 caliber quarterbacks in three of four classes, and has now done that in back-to-back classes.
The road to get here was winding, but in the end Rees and the Irish got their man.
For awhile it seemed as though Notre Dame would land Dante Moore, who sources indicated to Irish Breakdown was actually a silent commit to the Irish. Even with Moore being the early top contender for the 2023 quarterback spot, Rees and the Irish staff kept their eyes out for other talented signal callers, and the 2023 class is loaded with big-time quarterbacks. Minchey was a player that broke out as a junior thanks to a growth spurt and a jump in arm talent that came with it. He intrigued the Notre Dame staff a great deal, and when Notre Dame and Moore parted there was an immediate attraction to Minchey's game.
The Hendersonville (Tenn.) Pope John Paul II standout is a strong student and is known to have an incredibly high football IQ, so it was a no brainer to turn to him in the 2023 class.
There was just one problem, he committed to Pitt in April, and despite the interest from Notre Dame, Minchey was unwilling to make the move. Rees worked hard to establish a connection with Minchey, and according to our sources, it was a key reason for Minchey reached back out to Notre Dame in recent weeks. The foundation that was laid over the spring and summer months paid off, and Minchey was more open to listening to what Notre Dame had to offer.
Within a couple of weeks, Minchey had de-committed from Pitt and had set up a visit to Notre Dame for its matchup against Boston College. By the end of the weekend Minchey had given Rees and the Irish staff the final word, he was ready to be a member of the Notre Dame 2023 class.
It's a huge credit to Rees, Chansi Stuckey, Deland McCullough, Gerad Parker, Harry Hiestand and of course head coach Marcus Freeman and director of recruiting Chad Bowden that they were able to land such a deep and dynamic class of offensive players without having a top quarterback in the class. That is usually how it goes, land the big-time quarterback and then build around him. This staff built the great class first and then used that to pitch to the big time quarterback, and in the end it worked.
Having a talented player like Carr in the 2024 class added to the difficulty of landing a top 2023 signal caller, but Rees was able to get it done. It was a coup for the Irish coach, and speaks volumes about the competitive spirit that both Minchey and Carr possess.
With the early signing period beginning in less than a month, Notre Dame has now found its quarterback for the 2023 class. The vaunted recruited class now had the one thing it was missing, a big time quarterback.
To add to the importance beyond simply the recruiting rankings or class aspects, Minchey is an ideal fit for Rees' offense. His incredible football acumen combines perfectly with top-level ball placement, excellent anticipation skills and arm talent o make Minchey the kind of pocket passer + playmaker that this offense needs.
The future of the quarterback room at Notre Dame just much, much brighter.
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